How to keep your dog cool and safe this summer
Trainer Tamar Geller counts Oprah and Ellen as clients. Now she's helping you take better care of your furry friend.
Summer’s scorching heat and high humidity make us hot and thirsty, but they have the same effect on our canine best friends. That’s something to think about when temperatures rise, and when we travel with our pets and spend more time outside.
For expert guidance, we turned to Tamar Geller, the woman Oprah Winfrey praised as “a life coach for dogs and their people.” Geller is the founder of The Loved Dog, a training method based on communication, games, respect and fun, and a cage-free kennel and doggie daycare facility of the same name she founded in 1996.
Geller is from Tel Aviv, a metropolis on Israel's Mediterranean coast. She's known for her celebrity clientele – Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Ben Affleck, Jon Stewart, Larry King, Ryan Seacrest, Charlize Theron and Kelly Ripa, to name just a few. She’s familiar to viewers of “Oprah,” “The Today Show,” "Entertainment Tonight" and more. She's the author of “The Loved Dog: The Playful Nonaggressive Way to Teach Your Dog Good Behavior” and “30 Days to a Well Mannered Dog,” with two more books in the works. She’s developing a TV show about changing people through dogs, with DeGeneres producing. She also founded the nonprofit program Operation Heroes & Hounds to improve the lives of veterans and shelter dogs.
Here, she shares with From The Grapevine readers her top tips for getting your pooches through the dog days of summer, wherever you take them.
Beating the heat: Keep your dog cool
“Whatever the temperature is outside, even in the shade, the inside of your car is at least 10 degrees warmer. Cracked windows don’t do it. If you must leave your dog in the car, use two sets of keys. Leave one key in the ignition with the air conditioning on and lock your car with the other key.
Never give a panting dog ice water. It can cause the stomach to twist and cause an extremely painful death. Also, remember a water bowl left outside gets hot. One thing you can do is take a small bucket, put dog treats inside, fill it with water or chicken soup and freeze with a stick inside to create a popsicle you can put in the ground. Your dogs cool themselves as they lick it.
Dogs cool themselves down by panting, but also with their feet. Do not put booties on your dog. You may think you are protecting their feet from the hot pavement, but you are actually preventing them from cooling themselves down. One of the best ways to cool your dogs down is to rub alcohol on their feet.
There’s a great product called Cool Pad. When your dog lays on it, it immediately cools him down from the belly. It’s good for your home or car – you can take it anywhere.”
Buzz off: Keep the bugs away
“Vitamin B complex is one of the best natural insect repellents. There’s also something called Diatomaceous Earth, a fine powder that causes insects to dehydrate and die. Avon Skin So Soft works on dogs as well as people. These are natural things that won’t harm your dog.”
On the road and in the air: Traveling with dogs
“If your dog gets car sick, you have to find out if it’s because of the motion of the car or is it because of the idea of the car. If we put the dog in the car and we’re not even moving and the dog throws up, starts shaking or starts panting or starts drooling, it’s the latter. We have to reduce the trigger and we have to increase the reward, and desensitize them little by little, take them on short drives to places they love. If it’s really nausea, ginger is a good natural remedy.
If at all possible, do not put your dog in cargo. But if you must, teach the dog that the crate is a happy place so the dog associates the crate with pleasure. You have to do this for a couple of months before. Feed them all their meals in the crate. Put the food in the back of the crate so they have to go in to eat. Before going for a walk, have them go into the crate and put the leash on them there. Make a list of everything the dog likes and associate these things with the crate. Then you reduce the stress of being in the crate when it’s in a place that they don’t know.
It’s often too hot or cold in cargo so you have to be your dog’s advocate. Ask the flight attendant to have the pilot check on the temperature in cargo. Bring a little gift, maybe something sweet, to give to them to show your gratitude.”
Out and about: Keep your dog from getting lost
“You want to make sure that whenever you call, your dog is excited to come to you. Teach your dog to be your greatest fan, so when he hears your voice say his name he drops everything and comes flying to you. Do not say your dog’s name ever unless you are talking to your dog directly – that teaches the dog to ignore you. The best way to keep them safe is to get your dog to pay attention to you.”
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Related Topics: Animals